Can I Switch Auto Accident Attorneys? How Will It Affect My Case?


Margot Lester

You hope the partnership with your auto accident attorney will last. But sometimes, it just isn’t working — and you want out. You can break up with your lawyer, but there are some crucial considerations to think about before you do it. We’ve outlined four things you need to know about switching auto accident attorneys and how it can affect your case.

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1. Do Auto Accident Lawyers Drag Out Cases?

It can feel like your lawyer is dragging their feet because personal injury cases are complicated, and the legal process can take a long time. But they have no reason to slow their roll because they only receive payment after you win your case.

PRO TIP: Ask your lawyer to update you regularly on your case, even when there’s nothing new to report.

2. Steps You Must Take Before You Switch Auto Accident Attorneys

To get ready for a new lawyer:

List your grievances. Before you reach out, jot down the reasons for your decision to switch auto accident attorneys, such as:

  • Questionable case strategy and competency
  • Insufficient or nonexistent communication
  • Lack of trust or ethical concerns
  • Loss of faith in their ability to represent you

Prepare a formal notice. Write a letter informing your lawyer of your decision and the reasons you made it. Ask for a refund of your retainer balance (if you paid one) and the return of your files, including correspondence and documents filed with the court or recorded with a government agency. Use a calm and professional tone.

PRO TIP: Get the letter notarized and send it via registered mail to make sure your attorney gets it and to show that you mean business.

Get more information on how to fire your lawyer.

IMPORTANT: Reputable lawyers refund retainer balances in 30 days or less. If you don’t get the money, send another letter demanding prompt payment. You can also share what you’ll do if you don’t get the funds, including reporting them to the Better Business Bureau and state bar association.

List Your Grievances Before You Switch Attorneys

3. How Might Switching Attorneys Affect My Case?

Changing representation slows down the process because your new lawyer needs time to get up to speed on your case.

IMPORTANT: A judge can dismiss your case if you don’t have representation in time for your next court or hearing date. So, engage a new attorney as quickly as possible.

If your new lawyer wants to develop a different case strategy, they may ask the judge for an extension. However, this can also delay the process more for resolving your claim.

Injured at work? See how to get a new workers’ comp lawyer.

4. When Is It Too Late to Switch Auto Accident Attorneys?

Technically, you can change attorneys any time you see fit, but earlier is better. That’s because the closer you get to your hearing, the more work your lawyer has already done.  They may decide not to waive their fee if they invested a lot of money in your case. When this happens, it can make it hard for you to find a new attorney.

IMPORTANT: Even if you’re too close to resolution to change attorneys, remember that you’re in charge. That means you can tell your attorney how you want them to represent your case. According to the Rules of Professional Conduct, in most cases, your attorney must follow your directives or stop representing you.

Switching auto accident attorneys is an important decision that you shouldn’t make lightly. But once you’re ready, look for a lawyer with experience representing cases like yours and who has a good reputation in your community.

Not sure where to find a great auto accident attorney in your area? Let us help match you with an experienced lawyer for a free consultation today. It’s the fastest and easiest way to learn how much your claim may be worth at no cost to you.

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Margot Lester
CEO at The Word Factory | + posts

Margot Lester is the CEO of The Word Factory, a content marketing agency based in North Carolina that provides services for international healthcare brands, tech companies and SaaS developers. An award-winning business and brand journalist, she writes for daily and weekly newspapers and business journals, national magazines, in-flight publications and leading websites. Margot is also an in-demand writing coach and organizational communications trainer, helping individuals and teams write more effectively. LinkedIn: